Floral Designers Prepare to Delight First Lady at Annual Luncheon

Event Showcases American Grown Flowers on One of the Country’s Biggest Stages

Last year’s audience for the annual First Lady’s Luncheon.

More than 18,000 cut flowers will descend upon Washington, D.C., this spring, shipped from American flower farms across the country.

Once there, a team of volunteer floral designers will make a mad dash to arrange the blooms into more than 200 jaw-dropping centerpieces in time for the Congressional Club’s annual First Lady’s Luncheon.

Kelly Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane will team up this year to lead the volunteer design team for the First Lady’s Luncheon.

At the epicenter of the floral storm, lead designers Kelly Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane will be busy coordinating the massive effort to present first lady Melania Trump with a 100 percent American Grown display.

It’s a tremendous undertaking, with flower shipments pouring in from multiple farms across the U.S. There are buckets that need filling, flowers that need processing and vases that need prepping.

It takes a team of volunteers to process the thousands of donated American Grown stems needed to create the stunning arrangements of the First Lady’s Luncheon.

It’s also a labor of love for the designers who can’t wait to share their passion for American Grown blooms with the first lady and more than 1,500 Congressional spouses and associates.

The luncheon is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have 18,000 stems of American grown flowers all in front of me to design with and to experience,” says Kinnane, who volunteered on the team last year. As the owner of The Local Bouquet in Rhode Island, Kinnane seeks out seasonal and sustainable blooms for her weddings and other events, using only local and American Grown flowers.

Flowers farms across the country generously donate their beautiful blooms to grace the tables of the First Lady’s Luncheon.

“I was able to see new American Grown product that I hadn’t yet worked with, I was able to shake the hands of some of the farmers who grew the product, I was able to introduce myself to influential people in my industry and I was able to grow my company’s name as a proud supporter of the American Grown flower movement.”

Kelly Shore’s participation in the Homer, Alaska Field to Vase Dinner in 2017 inspired her to become part of the American Grown Flowers movement. Photos by Joshua Veldstra Photography

Shore, a renowned florist and owner of Petals by the Shore in Washington, D.C., is returning to the event for her second year as lead designer. She’s still glowing from last year’s smashing success, during which a sold-out crowd heard First Lady’s Luncheon Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Yoho compliment the beautiful flowers and request that “everyone, including the White House, support American Grown Flowers.”

Shore joined the American Grown movement after spending a week with flower farmers in Alaska, where she designed tablescapes for an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner.

“I feel like my designs and my aesthetic have become stronger and gained in character with each step I take to educate myself and seek out American Grown flowers and foliage,” says Shore.

For the past two years, the First Lady’s Luncheon has given floral designers the opportunity to shine a spotlight on American Grown blooms in front of a national audience—and this year will be no exception. The volunteer team is already being assembled and Shore and Kinnane are preparing new designs for the thousands of flowers American farmers have cultivated for the event.

Designers, volunteer to help here! It’s the American Grown flowers experience of a lifetime – for designers and guests.

Floral Superstars are the Featured Designers for the American Grown Field To Vase Dinner Tour

Sign Up for a Design Workshop!

With less than a month to go until the first stop on the 2017 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour, we’re announcing the lineup of all-star floral designers who will lend their talents to the tablescapes and other floral designs at each of the seven dinner tour locations.

These designers are renowned in the floral design community, and consumers have seen their work in magazines, on television shows, at celebrity weddings and all over social media. The Field to Vase Dinner Tour (F2V) is your chance to experience their work first-hand.

New this year, F2V guests can add to their experience by taking part in a floral workshop in conjunction with many of the dinners. Our designers will offer floral enthusiasts and fellow creative spirits a workshop where they will share their expertise, tips and tricks.

Meet our 2017 featured F2V floral designers:

Sandy Schroeck AIFD, PFCI, CFD of Trend on Design

Setting the tone for the 2017 dinner tour series, Sandy Schroeck of Trend on Design will festoon the tabletops at Len Busch Roses in Plymouth, Minnesota, on Saturday, March 11 with stunning certified American Grown flowers full of color and life. As an award-winning designer, trend watcher and floral educator, Sandy is partnering with Loann Burke AIFD, PFCI, CFC for a spectacular design workshop Sunday, March 12 that will dive into the latest trends in bridal bouquets, personal flowers and wedding décor.

Tickets: Len Busch Roses in Plymouth, Minnesota, on Saturday, March 11

Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event

Celebrity party planner and author Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event will join us at Gallup & Stribling Orchids in Carpinteria, California, on Thursday, March 30. Known as Oprah’s “Favorite Pro,” Debi has been part of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for more than 10 years and has made it her mission to inspire, educate and share her 20 years of party planning expertise, stylist tips and DIY designs with fans worldwide. With her impressive client list that includes brands like Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Safeway and Lamborghini, Debi is a highly sought-after designer. You’ll want to join us for this special F2V dinner in Carpinteria, and add on her floral workshop where you’ll learn about elegant and easy party essentials.

Tickets: Gallup & Stribling Orchids in Carpinteria, California, on Thursday, March 30

Carly Cylinder of Flour LA, Inc.

Joining us at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California, on Thursday, April 20 is The Flower Chef herself, Carly Cylinder. Author of “The Flower Chef: A Modern Guide to Do-It-Yourself Floral Arrangements” (named to Best Books of 2016), Carly has been featured in magazines such as InStyle, Rachel Ray, Family Circle, US Weekly and more. Carly’s full-service studio, Flour LA, specializes in events for the beauty, fashion and tech industries, and caters to a growing list of celebrity clientele. Before the dinner, F2V guests will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop taught by Carly to learn the many tricks of her trade.

Tickets: The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California, on Thurs., April 20

Francoise Weeks of European Floral Design

Sharing her knowledge of innovation and design, Francoise Weeks of European Floral Design will captivate guests with floral designs that combine creativity and mechanical ingenuity while they dine during the summer sunset at Destiny Hill Farm in Washington, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, June 24. With a global following, Francoise has been featured in Modern Wedding Flowers, Huffington Post, Flutter Magazine and MILIEU. Generous with her perspective in the use of floral materials, structure and mechanics, Francoise will host a two-day workshop prior to the dinner on Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24 for floral students interested in learning more about her unique style.

Tickets: Destiny Hill Farm in Washington, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, June 24

Ariella Chezar of Ariella Chezar Design

Author of “Flowers for the Table” and the upcoming book “The Flower Workshop,” Ariella Chezar is the designer for our adventurous dinner at Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska, on Saturday, July 29. Both florist and farmer, Ariella specializes in weddings and events using flowers from her farm, Zonneveld Farm, located in upstate New York. She is heading west for this special F2V dinner where she will showcase the striking Alaskan peony in her floral designs. Ariella will teach a day-and-a-half long workshop on Friday, July 28 and pre-dinner on July 29 that promises to fulfill a floral Alaskan adventure of a lifetime.

Tickets: Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska, on Saturday, July 29

Holly Chapple of Holly Chapple Flowers and Hope Flower Farm

Internationally recognized floral designer Holly Chapple will grace our F2V tables with her exquisite designs as she and husband Evan Chapple host the Field to Vase Dinner Tour on their 27-acre property, Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia. Adding her “Hollyish” signature style (lovingly coined by fellow designers to describe an aesthetic that is wistful, sophisticated and stylish) to her floral design, we can’t wait to see what this powerhouse will bring to the table on Sunday, October 8.

Tickets: Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia, on Sunday, October 8

J Schwanke of uBloom.com and J Schwanke Productions

Last but certainly not least, we are honored to have floral design celebrity and “the most trusted voice in the flower industry,” J Schwanke, CEO of uBloom.com! For our final stop of 2017, J is determined to win the floral hearts of our F2V guests with designs at FernTrust in Seville, Florida, on Saturday, Nov. 18. Award-winning speaker and author of “Fun with Flowers – Your Guide to Selecting, Arranging and Enjoying Beautiful Flowers,” J’s passion for flowers shines through his designs. Lucky for us, we are able to invite our F2V guests for a workshop with J featuring tips, tricks and techniques for flower arranging. (Workshop date is yet to be determined).

Tickets: FernTrust Incorporated in Seville, Florida, on Saturday, November 18

Seats for the 2017 Certified American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour are selling fast! What are you waiting for? Save your seat today!